Former England captain and Test opener Alastair Cook observed that “India got a little ahead of themselves in playing two spinners when they knew that it was going to rain a lot”, while referring to the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) Final played between India and New Zealand in Southampton last month.
India lost to New Zealand by a margin of eight wickets in the rain-affected WTC Final, which meant that the latter became the first WTC champions.
"They (India) got a bit confident in picking that side three days out before (the game) and playing two spinners where they pretty much knew it was going to rain for a lot of that game. So a lot of seam bowling was bowled,” Cook said while speaking on BBC Test Match Special podcast episode.
"Even though their spinners are world-class, they got a little bit ahead of themselves there," he added.
The highest run-scorer for England in Test matches went on to say that the difference in preparation for the big event also reflected in the final result, saying that New Zealand were “match-hardened” after two Tests against England while India only played an intra-squad game which is naturally low on intensity.
"I did say New Zealand were going to win that game purely down to the fact that they were match-hardened. Those two Test matches against England were such perfect preparation," Cook said.
"Intra-squad games, as good as your intention might be, it hasn't got the same intensity. First hour might be really competitive but everything goes less and less and less. India were hard done by that way," Cook added.
Views on India-England series
Speaking about the upcoming 5-Test series between India and England, the former England skipper said that India will be in trouble if the ball moves around in the upcoming 5-match Test series against England despite having a formidable batting line-up at their disposal.
"India are a great side. England will always fancy their chances more if that ball moves. If the conditions are like that in the month of August with moisture around, England will fancy bowling to that Indian side,” he said.
"Yes, they are a world-class batting unit. But their big weakness is the ball that moves, if it nips. You always fancy your chances against them," he added.
Inzamam-ul-Haq Questions WTC Final Pitch
Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq lashes out on the International Cricket Council (ICC) for preparing a pitch that majorly suited the bowlers than batsmen during the World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and New Zealand at Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
“This Test match was six days long, and out of that almost four days saw consistent rain and still it got over within 2.5 days. No one mentioned this that who gave the idea that such a pitch should be used for the World Test Championship final, where only the bowlers were visible but the batting side went invisible?,” questions Inzamam on his YouTube channel.
“I don't understand is that for such a big game, how can you prepare such a pitch," added the former Pakistan skipper.
On the debate of should WTC final be changed into the best-of-three-matches going forward, Inzamam suggested that upcoming WTC final should be played on home and away basis.
"My advice is that you make it two Tests, devise a points system, play one game in New Zealand or whoever is the finalist and the other in India. The result would have come out fairer in that case."
“If it were like the World Cup, where every match is played in the same country including the final, then it was different. So, it is just my opinion that in the future, the finals should be on a home and away basis, hosted by both the finalists," said Inzamam.
According to reports, India are likely to play a select county XI between July 20 to 22 after BCCI has requested ECB for a practice game before the Test series against England.
India will play against England in a 5-Test series starting next month, with the first Test commencing on August 4 at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. (With Agency Inputs)